Radio ad spend fell 17% in October, but regional stations stymie decline

Former Editor & Content Director

The amount of money media agencies spent on behalf of their clients on radio declined 17.1% in October.

The decline, while significant, shows the medium is clawing back its losses since the pandemic first hit the economy.

The market was already in decline prior to COVID-19, and the radio ad market was down 12.6% in March. By April, it was down 45% year-on-year, and in May this had surged to a catastrophic 55.8%. Radio ad spend in June was down 42.6% year-on-year.

This financial year, the declines have somewhat improved, with July down 28.4%, August down 32.8%, and September figures showing the decline was at 27.3% year-on-year.

For October, radio was buoyed by its regional operations, which only declined 2.7% year on year.

The figures are from Standard Media Index (SMI) which tracks how and where media agencies are spending their clients’ budgets.

The market overall remains in year-on-year decline, down 4.8%, however there were some bright spots.

Television actually grew 12.7% year on year, boosted by the AFL and NRL Grand Finals. Metropolitan TV alone grew 15.7%.

Pure-play video (including the likes of YouTube and the TV streaming sites) grew 15.5% in October.

The category driving the revival appears to be food/produce/dairy, in which spend was up 42%, however advertising for movies/ cinema/ theme parks remains down 87%.

SMI’s managing director Jace Ractliffe said there were promising signs on the horizon.

“The October SMI data has confirmed the ad market is well and truly leaving the COVID crisis behind, while future demand is also quickly accelerating in both November and December,” she said.

“The early signs for November are very encouraging and show the market is now on the cusp of returning to growth as there was a week’s trading still to occur when that early November data was collected. So we may be reporting our first month of growth in more than two years next month.”

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2 Dec 2020 - 12:36 pm

Dear Mr Blackley with respect regional radio is in fine health. During the most tumultuous period recently with Covid regional revenue has maintained strong revenues. “ For October, radio was buoyed by its regional operations, which only declined 2.7% year on year “


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